Be My Guest by Conrad Hilton
After hearing in the book from Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker that Conrad Hilton was incredibly reliant on the power of prayer, I wanted to check this out for myself. I admire people who have built sustainable, long-lasting companies and Conrad Hilton is definitely a prime example. I didn’t know too much about the founding and building of this company but after I finished this book, I learned a lot and want to complete another one about the Hilton family.
Early on in the history of the Hilton hotels, there was a new initiative that hit close to home for Conrad Hilton and he wanted to support it. I found it very interesting the way he worded it. Below is my summary of it:
In the early 1930s, a rabbi, a priest, and a minister first attempted a cross country speaking tour. This launched the National Council of Christians and Jews in the midst of the depression. Money was very tight for Mr. Hilton yet he found enough money to sponsor their ideas in Texas and New Mexico. The conference was “building for brotherhood” and Conrad said any small part he played he meant as a living tribute to men who already lived it.
This autobiography was quite short but I learned a lot about Mr. Hilton as an individual and as a businessman. I found that most of the points he stated that are needed for good hotel management can be applied to many different industries and not just the hotel or hospitality industry. Forecasting was one of the most important things in my mind, in any industry but especially in an industry where labor is one of the highest operational costs. Inter-hotel reservations were something else that I know to be very important for good hotel management. It’s admirable that Conrad Hilton recognized the great importance of this over 50 years ago, long before the adoption of things like the Internet and cellphones.
7 points needed for good hotel management:
3 for group hotels and 4 for all hotels:
1. Must be an individual personality geared toward its unique city and country. Involves choosing good managers and entrusting to them the authority they need.
2. Forecasting, a good manager knows exactly how many workers are needed for each and every day of the year. If he does not, he wastes money by being overstaffed or provides poor service by being understaffed.
3. Mass purchasing.
4. Digging for gold, utilization of every possible foot of space for the production of maximum possible income.
5. Training good men, keep standards of progress.
6. Sales efforts, good advertising, promotion, and publicity, the intelligent booking of parties.
7. Inter-hotel reservations, whereby a guest leaves one hotel and books at another hotel. Can book guests around the world all under one roof.
I learned from this book and grew to admire a few things about Conrad Hilton — mostly his work ethic and resilience. There were numerous times during the beginning of the company where many people would have quit or questioned their goals; he did not. His ambition and resilience were both things that drew me to him as an individual and I really admire what he built and created throughout his lifetime. Consistency was something that was very important to Mr. Hilton and for good reason, he wanted to ensure that any time someone walked into one of his hotels, they would receive the same levels of quality, service, and hospitality no matter where they were. While I do not think that he did everything perfectly, he did a very good job.
I gave this book a 3.5/5